Some nurse practitioners I speak with think that finding a locum tenens position is a quick and easy process. They believe you can contact one agency and find the ideal position in a matter of a few days. This is definitely not the case. I believe it is important that every potential locum tenens nurse practitioner knows that he or she should develop a relationship with more than one agency.
Choosing an agency to work with starts off by determining your preference of compensation and benefits. If you are looking for a high hourly salary, then 1099 paying agencies are a good match. If you are more interested in having health insurance for your family, retirement benefits, and/or taxes easily removed from your paycheck, then W2 paying agencies should be your first choice.
Please see my Agencies page for a list of the most common national placing locum tenens agencies. Take the time to review their websites and analyze which agencies are paying W2 vs 1099. After determining which agencies compensation matches with your interests, establish a relationship with a recruiter from that agency. I highly recommended contacting at least 5 or 6 agencies.
If you think that your recruiter is always going to be searching for you and contact you if anything new comes up, you are wrong. Unfortunately, the first assignment is tricky because you have not technically “proven yourself”. Therefore, you must constantly follow-up with your recruiter to see if there is anything new out there.
It is okay to email your recruiter, but for a quick response time, I recommend calling your recruiter. It’s common that you may email your recruiters and they may not respond. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, recruiters are not that responsive via email. It may have to do with them being a ‘salesperson’, and believing in verbal conversation being more effective.
After the first couple of days or conversations, you will soon realize which recruiter and agency you like most. Your favorite recruiter may be very friendly, always keeping you in the loop, or looking out for your best interest.
If you have a recruiter that never returns your phone calls or emails, or discourages you from jobs telling you that you lack the experience, consider changing recruiters. One recruiter does not represent the entire agency, and I would hate for you to lose out on great opportunities because of a poor relationship with your recruiter.
As far as choosing an agency, it’s not as easy as choosing a meal. It is more similar to choosing the right car. You need to do some research, test drive the car, follow-up with the salesperson, and determine if it’s right for you.
Your preference of an agency should also be directly linked to job availability. If you have any questions as far as highly recommended agencies, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post.